Balanced Crystalloids Versus Saline in Critically Ill Adults

N Engl J Med. 2018 Mar 1;378(9):829-839. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1711584. Epub 2018 Feb 27.

Abstract

Background: Both balanced crystalloids and saline are used for intravenous fluid administration in critically ill adults, but it is not known which results in better clinical outcomes.

Methods: In a pragmatic, cluster-randomized, multiple-crossover trial conducted in five intensive care units at an academic center, we assigned 15,802 adults to receive saline (0.9% sodium chloride) or balanced crystalloids (lactated Ringer's solution or Plasma-Lyte A) according to the randomization of the unit to which they were admitted. The primary outcome was a major adverse kidney event within 30 days - a composite of death from any cause, new renal-replacement therapy, or persistent renal dysfunction (defined as an elevation of the creatinine level to ≥200% of baseline) - all censored at hospital discharge or 30 days, whichever occurred first.

Results: Among the 7942 patients in the balanced-crystalloids group, 1139 (14.3%) had a major adverse kidney event, as compared with 1211 of 7860 patients (15.4%) in the saline group (marginal odds ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 0.99; conditional odds ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.82 to 0.99; P=0.04). In-hospital mortality at 30 days was 10.3% in the balanced-crystalloids group and 11.1% in the saline group (P=0.06). The incidence of new renal-replacement therapy was 2.5% and 2.9%, respectively (P=0.08), and the incidence of persistent renal dysfunction was 6.4% and 6.6%, respectively (P=0.60).

Conclusions: Among critically ill adults, the use of balanced crystalloids for intravenous fluid administration resulted in a lower rate of the composite outcome of death from any cause, new renal-replacement therapy, or persistent renal dysfunction than the use of saline. (Funded by the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and others; SMART-MED and SMART-SURG ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT02444988 and NCT02547779 .).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Pragmatic Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Critical Illness / mortality
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Electrolytes / therapeutic use*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Isotonic Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Diseases / epidemiology
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Ringer's Lactate
  • Sodium Chloride / therapeutic use*

Substances

  • Electrolytes
  • Isotonic Solutions
  • Ringer's Lactate
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Plasmalyte A

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02444988
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02547779